Saturday, May 26, 2007
I have just discovered this artist's work -- his paintings are on display at the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder, CO -- and am left disturbed and haunted. Nick Kosciuk uses fairy tale imagery to expose the fetishization of children; there are no direct depictions of acts of abuse, but you can see the abuse in the eyes and postures of the children. There is some horrible knowledge and fear in the eyes in "Butterfly in Red." And the painting of the adolescent standing, eyes closed, with a forest in the back, reminds me terribly (though perhaps without the artist's intention) of the visual of Lavinia after her assault in the wood, in Julia Taymor's Titus. Kosciuk's paintings are of children in eastern Europe, and the money he makes from his sales goes to support orphanages in Belarus.
The idea that fairy tales allow us to explore, in safe ways, the ramifications and psychology of abuse, rape, and other forms of violence or cruelty is nothing new, but I rarely see a contemporary artist conducting just that exploration in such a vibrant and chilling manner. The two paintings I've posted here on the blog are not Rosciuk's most beautiful or disturbing, so take a look at the rest at www.nickkosciuk.com.